POPP: Bringing Ping Pong at the Park to Perth
Fun with Friends, and a canvas for artists.
Table Tennis has been around since the turn of the 20th century. However, openly free-to-use tables for the sport have only seen real use in the last few decades. Directors John Durey and Chris Adams have been bringing the popular public trend to Perth since 2009, in the form of Public Outdoor Ping Pong - POPP.
"Yes, we're proud to say that we're the reason people are playing ping pong in Australian parks."
Ping pong for everyone
POPP is a company founded in Perth, focused on breathing life into public places though the installment of public ping pong tables. The list of spaces they cover is all-encapsulating - parks, town squares, schools and uni grounds to name some - with reach extending throughout Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA. John went into detail with regards to the inspiration for this vision: a trip he and his friends took to Friedrichshain, Germany.
"[We] realised the park had tables, and that the apartment we were staying in had ping pong equipment. We put two and two together and the rest of the summer was spent exploring the city with ping pong bat in hand."
The public tables make ping pong accessible to just about anyone, and you can currently find some of them already dotted around Perth. The list of locations is too long to mention, though some include Leederville, Freo, Vic Park, Peppermint Grove and Joondalup. All of the POPP tables you come across also have free bats and balls, ready for anyone to strike up a game with friends and strangers alike.
The most defining aspect of POPP over simply providing tables is the artwork that covers them. The playing surface and sides of their Flagship model offer a canvas for local street artists to deck out in all their glory, and show off their talent. In essence, POPP puts out playable murals.
"Some Perth artists we've been lucky to work with are Sean Morris, Anya Brock, Steve Buckles, Jamie Doohan, Cat Alexander, the designers at Nude Design Studio, and Tim Meakins."
Their other two table models, the Local and Ephemeralist, give a basic or modern alternative to the bold, solid construction of the flagship. Most often, these two will be simple two-tones, though the potential for art on these tables is still definitely there, and both have their own unique flair in their design.
A Father's Day surprise in Northbridge
In addition to the existing one over in Weld Square, two new POPP tables are going to be installed over in the Northbridge Piazza, with the first going up just in time for Father's Day. They're staying up until November, so there's plenty of time to go check them out.
"Personally, I like the tables we have in the suburbs where the local residents become regulars."
If Northbridge is a little too far away from you though, don't worry! The POPP website has a map to help you find the nearest table to you, and if you feel ambitious, info on how to get your hands on one yourself.